Caught:A Dark Mafia Romance

By: Piper Stone

He glanced at the weapon before breaking into a grin. “Not to worry, little brother. Just remember that people talk trash.”

The same old threats, only this time, I gathered a sense that he was telling the truth. “I’ll keep that in mind. Now, get the fuck away from me.” I took a giant step backward, trying to calm my anger. Gio had a way of goading me that I fell into every time. The fact he was here and alone meant he was snooping, but for himself or for Montego? Time would tell.

“Fine. I’ll leave you to your evening. Just keep something in mind, Jagger. You are not the next in line for the throne. You’ve wasted far too much time.” He reached out, flicking his finger against my jacket, a simple move as if he cared. I knew better.

“Whatever, Gio. I can handle whatever comes my way.”

“We shall see, little brother. We shall see.”

For some reason, I watched him walk away, curious to see if anyone eventually trailed behind him. He always rode with a posse, a group of men who were not only his protectors but also ready for any fight. His soldiers were scum of the earth, bloodsuckers feeding off the ill wills of others. Their actions had also allowed my brother to become wealthy, stealing or extorting from anyone who stood in his way. I’d been right in my assumptions. He hadn’t wanted an audience. My brother wasn’t giving me a warning. He was issuing a personal threat.

Too bad I wasn’t afraid.

* * *

I strode into the bar just after nine-thirty that night. Still angry. Still on edge. Razzle’s was my usual haunt, a corner jazz club that had been around for well over fifty years. Very little had changed, the décor a classic combination of mahogany-stained wood and pictures of celebrities covering the walls. The ebony Steinway baby grand in the corner had always drawn my attention, even as a little boy. I stood in the doorway, enjoying the entertainment. The sultry female singer created dark fantasies, the kind that would linger in my mind for days. Only when she’d finished the song did I walk past, giving her a nod of approval.

I knew the current owner, a guy I’d gone to school with. He’d taken an entirely different path, preferring hard work to the easy road, taking over after his father had died. The place had been my father’s stomping grounds long before I’d been allowed inside.

“Hey, Jimmy.” No one paid any real attention to who I was. Perhaps they didn’t care. Times had changed over the years, the syndicate blending in. Yep, we were just regular folk.

“Thought you were on vacation,” Jimmy teased, already pouring my requested drink.

“What? A guy can’t get a little work done every once in a while?” Grinning, I eased onto the barstool. I came here a couple of times a week. The reasons? Music. Booze. Good conversation. Jimmy could tell a story like nobody else. I also didn’t have to pretend to give a shit about the family, the business, or anything else for that matter. Tonight was no exception. I was in jeans and a ratty tee-shirt. Comfort clothes.

“Yeah. Yeah. You don’t even have to work. Don’t kid a kidder.” He pushed the glass across the bar before leaning over.

“Nothing gets handed to you on a silver platter. If it does, you can anticipate a certain payment will be required in return.”

“Something for us poor boys to keep in mind.”

I chuckled as I swirled the glass. A swift movement caught my attention and I glanced over my shoulder. The beautiful girl wasn’t a familiar face in the joint and I recognized almost everyone who crossed over the threshold. I was observant for several reasons, including the desire to live. I took a sip of my drink, holding the liquor in my mouth as she eased her long red hair over her shoulder before rounding the corner of the bar, taking a seat at the opposite end. After swallowing, I realized I’d issued a slight noise, a guttural sound coming straight up from my crotch.

Jimmy followed my gaze, shaking his head and lowering his voice. “Beautiful but way out of your league.”

“You say that about every woman who comes into this bar.”

“I like to keep my customers alive. Okay?” He took a step back, winking before moving off to serve another customer.

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